How to Enroll In a Medical Assistant Course in Lakeville Connecticut
Once you have decided to enter the gratifying profession of health care and enroll in a medical assistant program in Lakeville CT, it’s time to select a college that will provide the appropriate training. But just how do you go about evaluating and comparing colleges so that you subsequently pick the best one? Most future students start by researching the medical assistant schools that are nearest to their homes and then gravitate toward those that have the most affordable tuition. While location and cost are extremely important such things as accreditation, job assistance and internship programs are critical issues as well. You may want to take a look at some online medical assistant programs as an option also (more on that later). The main point is that prior to selecting a program you need to finish your due diligence and compare all important qualifications of the colleges you are evaluating. And to help you with that task, we have included some questions that you need to ask all of the schools on your “maybe” list. But before we start that review, let’s talk a little bit about the function of a medical assistant and the kind of credentials and training that are offered.
The Responsibilities of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant can be diverse as well as challenging. Basically their duty is to make sure that the Lakeville CT hospitals, clinics and other healthcare centers where they work run efficiently. Based on the size or type of facility, they may be more of an administrative assistant, a clinical assistant, or in smaller practices both. They are tasked with giving direct assistance to the physicians, nurses and other health professionals but may also be found working at the front desk or in an office. A few of the many functions of a medical assistant include:
- Filling out insurance forms and filing claims
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Taking vital signs and weighing patients
- Taking blood and other tissue and fluid samples
- Preparing rooms and instruments for doctors
- Supplying general support during exams and procedures
Even though Lakeville CT medical assistants may carry out almost any activity they are qualified to under Connecticut law, some elect to specialize in a particular area and obtain certification. Two of the options offered are for the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) and the Certified Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA) provided by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA).
Medical Assistant Training and Certification
In contrast to most other medical professionals, medical assistants are not mandated to become licensed, certified, or to earn a college degree. However, many Lakeville CT employers would rather hire graduates of an accredited medical assistant training program (more on accreditation later ) that have earned certification. There are basically two options offered for a formal education. The first and quickest route to becoming a medical assistant is to acquire a certificate or diploma. These programs generally take about 1 year to finish, a few as little as six to nine months. They are developed to teach the fundamentals of medical assisting and prepare graduates for entry level positions. The second option is to obtain an Associate Degree, which are typically two year programs provided at community and junior colleges together with technical and vocational schools. They are more expansive in design than the diploma or certificate programs, and include liberal arts courses in addition to the medical assistant classes. They frequently have a clinical element requiring an internship with a local medical practice. Associate Degrees are often a pre-requisite for and credits can be transferred to a four year Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Assistant Studies or a similar field.
As earlier stated, certification is not a legal requirement, but is an excellent idea for individuals who want to advance their careers. Not only will it help in obtaining employment after graduation, but it can also help with preliminary salary negotiations. A number of potential Lakeville CT employers just will not employ a medical assistant that has not received accredited formal training or certification. One of the most popular and perhaps the most respected certification is the Certified Medical Assistant (CMA) provided by the American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA). In order to take the CMA examination, a candidate must be a graduate or will be graduating within 30 days from an accredited medical assistant program. Additional certifications are offered also, such as the CCMA and the CMAA that we previously mentioned which are offered by the NHA.
Online Medical Assistant Colleges
There are a number of accredited medical assistant programs offered online also. They are an excellent alternative for individuals who might not have the time to attend classes on campus but could fit them in if accessible at home. This is a particularly good option for students who continue working full time while attaining their certificate or degree. As an additional benefit, many online programs have cheaper tuitions than the more traditional on-campus options. Ancillary expenses such as for commuting, textbooks and school supplies might be minimized also. Just keep in mind that all requirements for clinical training or internships must still be met, but they can often be carried out in local Connecticut medical care facilities. If you can earn a degree without the rigid structure of attending supervised classes on campus, then this approach to getting your education may be the best choice for you. Between the online classes and the clinical training, everything needed to achieve proficiency to perform as a medical assistant in Lakeville CT is furnished.
What to Ask Medical Assistant Programs
Before you can start reviewing your medical assistant program alternatives, you have to decide which type of credential you would like to earn, and if you want to attend classes on campus near Lakeville CT or online from home. As soon as those choices have been made, you can start the procedure of comparing programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students confine their searches to the schools that are nearest to home with the most affordable tuitions. Although location and cost are significant qualifications, they are not the only ones. There are a number of additional factors that you should look at when evaluating Connecticut schools. To help you with that process, below are some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are thinking about before making your final choice.
Is the Medical Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of great reasons to confirm that the program you enroll in is accredited. First, accreditation helps ensure that the instruction you receive will be both extensive and of the highest quality. Next, if you plan on becoming certified, you need to complete an accredited program. Two of the acknowledged organizations for accreditation are the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the Accrediting Bureau of Health Education Schools (ABHES). If your program is not accredited by either of these agencies, you will not be qualified to take the CMA exam. Additionally, if you intend on obtaining a student loan or financial aid, they are often not available for non-accredited programs. And finally, as previously mentioned, a number of potential Lakeville CT employers will not hire a medical assistant who has not graduated from an accredited college.
What is the Program’s Passing Rate? The majority of accredited Lakeville CT area medical assistant colleges develop their programs to prep students to pass one or more certification exams. To begin with, you need to find out which of the certifications the colleges you are reviewing are preparing their students to take. If you are interested in taking the CMA for example, then naturally you will need to enroll in a program concentrating on that certification. Next, find out what the school’s passage rate is for the certification and contrast it to the national average. Doing this is one of the ways to help assess the quality of a college’s program. Obviously programs with low rates are those that you will prefer to eliminate.
Which Programs are Provided? As we previously covered, there are basically two routes to obtaining medical assistant training. You can choose a certificate or diploma program and obtain entry level training in the shortest amount of time, from as little as 6 months, however the average is closer to one year. Or you can opt to earn an Associate Degree and receive a more comprehensive education that will take about 2 years to finish in a community college or vocational school. Whichever program you decide to pursue, confirm that the Lakeville CT area colleges you are reviewing provide the kind of program you are interested in.
Are Internships Sponsored? Numerous Connecticut medical assistant programs offer internship programs with area health care providers. They are a great method to get hands-on practical training and experience. They may also help students establish relationships within the Lakeville CT medical community. And as an added perk, they are an advantage on resumes and for job interviews too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing that initial job can be a difficult undertaking for medical assistant school graduates unless they obtain a little assistance from a job placement program. Confirm that the schools you are interviewing provide job placement assistance and ask what their placement rate is. If a college has a higher job placement rate for its graduates, it indicates that it has an excellent reputation within the health care community. It also suggests that it has a wide network of contacts in the Lakeville CT area to help place students in jobs.
How Big are the Classes? Class size can be an indicator of how much individual instruction you will receive throughout your training. Smaller classes and classes with a higher teacher to student ratio are more likely to provide increased access to teachers and one-on-one interaction. If convenient, try to sit in on a couple of classes before selecting a program in the Lakeville CT area to observe what the teaching environment is like and how much attention the students receive.
Is Class Scheduling Accommodating? If you anticipate attending a medical assistant school while you continue working full-time, it’s imperative that the school you enroll in provides classes that fit your schedule. If you have to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends in Lakeville CT, verify that those times are available. You might be able to fit your classes in more easily with an online college, but you will also have to schedule all clinical training or internships that will be required. Additionally, ask what the policy is for making up classes that you might have to miss because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Medical Assistant Course in Lakeville CT
It’s important to start your new career on the right foot by picking a medical assistant program that will furnish the right training. Regardless if you’re goal is to launch a career in medical care starting out as a medical assistant or to pursue medical assistance as your life long career, you need to acquire the appropriate information on available programs prior to making your decision. There are such a large number of schools offering training nowadays that you can make a selection based upon your personal preferences and individual circumstances. And as we have addressed in this article, make certain that the program you pick is accredited by an acknowledged agency, for example the CAAHEP. This is particularly important if you intend on taking the CMA certification examination. But irrespective of the type of credential that you plan to earn or if you have made a decision to attend either an online or on-campus school, be sure to ask the questions we have supplied in order to compare programs and make an informed decision. And by picking the best program you can subsequently start a rewarding career as a medical assistant in Lakeville CT.
Why Did You Decide to Be a CMA?When prepping to interview for a medical assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers frequently ask candidates is "What drove you to choose medical assistance as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the personal reasons you might have for being a Certified Medical Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to medical assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you need to prepare some approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an excellent medical assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
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